RTSM | CHEN Qi: "We are getting old during the changes, and we also get the feedback and sublimation of life during the process."

TEXT:CAFA ART INFO    DATE: 2020.10.28

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Heaven on Earth, Ink Painting, 2020

Heaven on Earth is my newly completed ink painting this year. I returned to Beijing from Nanjing on the third day of the Chinese New Year. Due to the pandemic, people seldom went out, stayed at home while paying attention to the pandemic situation and the daily death rate data. The reality of life and death that usually seems far away from us suddenly loomed before us, which enables a profound change in our ordinary lives. The distance between people has become alienated and unfamiliar, making me once again to think about the value and meaning of life. My thinking on this issue is concentrated in the work Heaven on Earth. This work depicts a scene from the Garden of Cultivation, a Ming Dynasty classical garden in Suzhou, where I have experienced the beauty of the garden and the natural state of people’s lives. They have left a deep impression on me.

Heaven on Earth is not a landscape painting on garden themes. To be precise, the scenery of the Garden of Cultivation is not the object of my painting, but a “topic”. The visual image in the picture is not the main body and only works as the words and phrases in making sentences. My creation is not aimed at discovering and expressing beauty, nor is it a mirror image or criticism of the real world, but a metaphysical visual presentation.

Creation has become the norm in my life. Just like the tourists who visit the Garden of Cultivation every day during their holidays, although they go every day, it does not mean repetition. Nature changes all the time, we are getting old during the changes, and we also get the feedback and sublimation of life during the process.

—Cited from Notes of Heaven on Earth by Chen Qi

About the Artist:

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Chen Qi, Ph.D., Executive Deputy Dean of the Graduate School of CAFA, Professor and Doctoral Supervisor. Member of the National Art Professional Master Degree Education Steering Committee, Member of Exhibition Review Committee for the National Art Museum of China, Member of the Printmaking Arts Committee of the China Artists Association, Secretary-general of Printmaking Institute in China National Academy of Painting, and distinguished professor of Renmin University of China.

His works have successively won the Bronze Award and Excellence Award of the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth National Exhibition of Fine Arts China, the Gold Award of the 13th Printmaking Exhibition and the Excellent Works Award of the Fifth Beijing International Art Biennale China. His works has been collected by the National Art Museum of China, the CAFA Art Museum, Shanghai Art Museum, Guangdong Art Museum, Jiangsu Art Museum, Zhejiang Art Museum, Hubei Art Museum, Guan Shanyue Art Museum, Shenzhen Art Museum, Qingdao Art Museum, Sichuan Art Museum, Deji Art Museum, British Museum, UK,Victoria and Albert Museum, UK, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK, Sotheby's Institute of Art, London, The New York Public Library, The Fukuoka Art Museum in Japan, the Museum of Young Art in Vienna, Austria, and the European Woodblock Print Foundation, etc.

Recent Exhibitions:

2019 Renewal and Coexistence: Chen Qi 2019, Amy Li Gallery

2019 The 58th La Biennale di Venezia

2018 The Physics of “Chen Qi”—Experimenting With Curation and Comprehension, Deji Art Museum

2017 Imprint·Plurality - Solo Exhibition of Chen Qi, Asia Art Center (Beijing)


The Printmaking Techniques, Paintings of Chen Qi, Woodcuts of Chen Qi, 1963Notations of Time: Chen Qi 1983-2013, Chen Qi Woodblock Prints,The Conception and Techniques of Chinese Woodblock Printing, etc.


Text and Image Courtesy of the Artist.

Translated and Edited by Sue and Emily